Authors: Alexander Meneikis, Kaan Sar, Elena Wascher
Do you want your employees to be a strong force that helps you achieve your company goals?
Do you want to keep your employees motivated and long-term on board with your company goals?
This is a short manual on how to use the tool of controlling and reporting to help this.
Sun Tzu: The battle is mostly won before the battle
Forgive me, but it seems that no modern strategy presentation can go without a quote from Sun Tzu.
Yet, is is true: The involvement of your employees in your reporting begins before the reporting.
If your employees do not trust you, if they do not want to follow you, the prettiest report will do nothing to change that.
The reports will be received, read and considered in the spirit of the company leadership. They will feel about it in the way they feel about the leadership in general.
If they feel that the managers are a bunch of lying greedy bastards, they will look at the reports that way.
If they take management seriously, see them as respectable and people worthy of following, they will respect the reports and follow them.
So, if your management has been bad, dishonest, manipulative, exploitative – good luck.
Initially, this was supposed to become a very clever paper on reporting. Yet, after considering reality, the main point are and remain the quality of relationships. If the relationships are bad, nice reports will not remedy that.
People read what they feel.
How do you get good relationships? Good communication.
Are Standard Reports Not Enough?
For top management, standard reports are a good basis.
Give them a monthly P&L statement, an open accounts list, KPI about liquidity and some KPI that relate to their own department.
For the individual employee, this may be a bit much.
Give them short poignant reports that relate to their specific task and expertise.
- Report to factory workers about use of material and about mistakes made in production.
- Report to cooks about guest satisfaction.
- Report to sales how quickly customers pay invoices and about cash discounts used.
Let them know individually what exactly they can do to support the company goals.
Where necessary, show people a good starting point to begin.
And, of course, let them know when they have constributed to the success. Say thank you and appreciate them.
Match report to recipient: Understanding, education, training, expertise
The reports should be made up in a way that they are understandable to the recipients.
How much do they, how much can they understand?
Support the message with graphs and diagrams.
In any case, do not overload it. Concentrate on the points that are truly relevant.
Deliver the message directly
The reports should be discussed in a personal setting – on location or via video conference.
Particularly „bad news“ should be delivered with a face – if necessary, by live video. Be encouraging when you deliver them.
Managers know their staff (hopefully) and they should discuss the reports with them directly.
What about the Intranet? Publish reports there?
The intranet, if you have one, is a good place for general reports.
On the intranet, mostly concentrate on good news – keep people’s spirits up.
Also, if there are general problems like delivery bottlenecks or other phenomena that affect the whole company, put that on the intranet loud and clear.
Show people successes and flaws
Generally, do not hide problems, let people know about difficulties, bottlenecks, crises, mistakes – but do not dwell on them.
Celebrate successes where you have them.
The most stupid mistake of all: Hold people responsible for something they have ZERO control over
This is the champion’s league of dumb: Sanction, punish employees for something that they can absolutely not change.